We Finished Our Cross Season with Muddy Races and a Chili Eat-Off

I should preface this gallery by saying, as an isolated selection of images, it’s ok. But after I post all the content I got from this weekend, it’ll be more complete. That includes, reviews, portraits and yeah, my new cross bike. For now, however, it does encapsulate our race conditions and a rather fun way to end the season.

We’ve had a fairly wet fall here in Austin, resulting in some grueling races with a lot of mud. The problem is, we don’t get normal mud here, since the base is limestone. Instead, we get iron-rich clay and clay, well, clay doesn’t like bikes. At all. Unless it’s in the drying process, when suddenly it becomes rails of brown pow.

Saturday’s race was more of a Tough Mudder course than a race course, with the day starting off as a 2 mile track, with around 1.25 miles of running. It sucked. Sucked the energy from your legs, sucked your derailleur off your hanger and sucked all the space it could find within your stays, cranks and fork. The officials shortened the course, resulting in faster times, but still, a lot of running. I’ve never had to shoulder a bike in a race before. Usually, everything was ridable, for some of us, anyway.

When Sunday came around and I could barely walk, I wasn’t looking forward to the course.

Alas, there’s that magical moment where mud transforms to fast lines of singletrack through the woods and mudpits become tacky enough to form a rut. Those are the moments where cross racing takes hold of your skills and sharpens them like a battle ax. Sunday was amazing and fast!

After doing my thing, there was talk of a chili eat-off between one of the older teams in town and the newer teams. Yacht Club vs Super Awesome. I had my money on the later, since Yacht Club prides themselves on their fine dining and boyish physiques. Boy was I wrong…

  • Devin Parker

    great photos

  • Tyler Johnson

    The shot with the two Specialized bike is so great! Nice dude.

  • Steve Clay

    John, do you recall your setup for those indoor snaps? I frequently have a hell of a time with indoor, close quarters flash lit images and would be really curious what you had going on.

    • I just shoot aperture priority with the flash on TTL and whatever ISO you want.

      • Steve Clay

        Thanks for the reply John, was it an on camera flash or a separate unit attached to the hotshoe?

        • This is a canon speedlite 430ex ii

          • Steve Clay

            Rad! Much thanks again for the information!

  • brieboyg

    Midwest mud is sticky too. and cold. it’s not cross if your not dirty! cool photos. looks like you had a great time!